“Truth & Justice” Gives Professor T His Day in Court

Ben Miller as Jasper in Professor T Season 3

Ben Miller as Professor T in 'Professor T' Season 3

Sofie Gheysens/Eagle Eye Drama

It is unclear how much time has passed since the second episode, but this week finds the Professor at his trial for the attempted murder of Simon Lanesborough. Simon’s crookedness is not questioned, but what happened to him is not mentioned. Was he jailed? We don’t see him in prison with Jasper. Jasper replays the night in question as the judge prepares the jury: In the flashback, Simon clearly does not grab the rifle to change its trajectory – so why were his prints found on the barrel? That will have to remain a mystery because it is not addressed.

Since Jasper has declined to enter a plea, the judge cites the presumption of innocence and declares one for him: Not guilty. In the courtroom for moral support are Donckers, Dan, Rabbit, Adelaide, the Dean, and Ms. Snares. The latter three are called to the stand first as character witnesses, each managing to paint Jasper in an unflattering light. When Rabbit is on the stand, however, Jasper’s usefulness to the police is highlighted, and he tells the story of their last case, where Jasper saved an innocent man from a murder charge. The murder this week is interspersed with Jasper’s trial, involving the in-prison death of corrupt Officer Steddon.

Christina’s testimony takes up the bulk of the trial. At some point in between nearing killing her now ex-boyfriend Simon and getting her former lover Jasper jailed for it, she’s patched things up with her estranged husband. The husband and their two children are in the courtroom, which proves awkward when the prosecution presses her to admit her past relationship with Jasper. When Jasper’s lawyer questions her, she speaks to his intention – he believed she was in danger – and refutes Simon’s claim that Jasper pointed the rifle in his face. She maintains the lie that she did not have a gun. When the prosecution cross-examines her, the questions seem aimed at casting suspicion on Christina. The judge reminds the lawyer that Christina’s not on trial, but the revelation of her past relationship with Jasper colors the scene. The judge calls a brief adjournment.

Caroline Martin as the Judge in Professor T Season 3

Caroline Martin as the Judge in Professor T Season 3

Sofie Gheysens/Eagle Eye Drama

Adelaide asks Rabbit point blank if Christina had a gun. He shifts uncomfortably and confirms it by saying nothing at all. The Dean helps Adelaide create a distraction, and she slips into the room where Jasper sits with his lawyer, Theresa Carver (Moyo Akandé). While Carver seeks a security guard to eject Adelaide, his mother presses Jasper about Christina and the gun and how her lie has erased his defense. “Truth and justice are not always compatible. If I speak up, Christina will lose everything,” Jasper explains. When Carver returns, Jasper says he wants to change his plea to guilty.

The trial resumes with Christina back on the stand. The prosecution jumps right back in trying to establish Jasper’s jealousy as motivation for attempted murder. The lawyer continues to pressure her: did she manipulate Jasper, hoping he would kill Simon? Christina seems to be cracking; Jasper stands and declares he wants to change his plea. The judge asks him to clarify he’s declaring himself guilty, but before he can answer, Adelaide cries out and faints. An obvious stalling tactic, but one that succeeds. The trial resumes after Adelaide is attended to, and Carver still can’t convince Jasper not to plead guilty. 

To everyone’s surprise, Christina comes clean. She sets the story straight: She was armed, and Jasper fired his gun into the ceiling because he feared she would kill Simon. Jasper amends his amendment, telling the judge he’d now like to plead not guilty. The trial ends in Jasper’s favor, and he becomes a free man once again.

The Case of the Week

Chris Ryman as Omar Haq and Terence Maynard as Prison Officer Levi Burridge in 'Professor T' Season 3

Chris Ryman as Omar Haq and Terence Maynard as Prison Officer Levi Burridge in 'Professor T' Season 3

Sofie Gheysens/Eagle Eye Drama

Not only does the murder happen in jail, but Jasper is the one who finds the body. Steddon lies dead in the laundry room with blood pooled on his head. Donckers and Dan work the case, and notably, Dan is out of his sling and seems to have no lingering issues with pain pills. Steddon was a despicable man who made life hell for many inmates, in addition to selling drugs in and out of prison, so suspects are plentiful. Still, our team identifies two primary candidates: Emil Rhodes (Faisal Dacosta) and Jasper’s cellmate Omar, who were overheard plotting Steddon’s murder together. Rhodes has a history of violence and is outright cocky. He denies the allegation but giggles and jokes about Steddon’s death, infuriating Donckers. Meanwhile, Dan interviews Omar, who is cagey and nervous and will only answer questions about himself, refusing to implicate Rhodes as the police want him to.

Jasper then finds the bloody hammer used to kill Steddon – stuffed clumsily inside Omar’s mattress in the cell they share. The facts seem clear with the murder weapon found, and Omar confesses. But Jasper doesn’t believe it.

While the rest of the prisoners are on lockdown, Jasper examines the crime scene, envisioning the murder as Omar relayed it to him. He realizes the killer is right-handed, while Omar is a southpaw. Jasper recalls a fight between Steddon and Burridge that he witnessed and confronts him with the conclusion that Burridge is the killer. Jasper had learned of Burridge’s son dying of an overdose and deduced that Steddon had been his son’s supplier. He wants to give Burridge the chance to confess to the police. This, unfortunately, blows up in Jasper’s face when Burridge takes his own life rather than suffer the fate of a prison guard-turned-prisoner. In a final scene between Jasper and Omar, Omar explains he took the blame for Burridge because he was a good man who made life better in jail, and Omar was trying to keep a good man in his job.

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Professor T

The Professor is in jail and must find a way to get his old life and job back.
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Unwanted Thoughts

  • Themes of institutionalization are explored through Omar, who is preparing for but terrified of his prison release. Jasper does a very thoughtful and kind deed by connecting Omar with Adam Bernard, the boxer from the first episode of the season, who offers Omar a job and a place to crash once he’s out of jail.
  • It’s a powerful moment when Jasper finds Officer Burridge dead in the same manner as his father: suicide by hanging. Burridge’s death is sad and tragic, and Jasper feels responsible.
  • Goodbye, Christina Brand. She visits Jasper on his favorite roof at Cambridge to update him: Her confession meant the end of her law enforcement career, and she quit before being fired. She and her reunited family are moving to the coast. She hopes he can find love again.
  • Next week: Jasper returns to life outside of prison, where Adelaide worries he’ll begin obsessing over his father’s death again.

Professor T Season 3 airs at 8 p.m. ET on Sundays on most PBS stations, the PBS app, and the PBS Masterpiece channel through the end of July. All six episodes are available as a binge for members on PBS Passport. As always, check your local streaming service/listings.

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A writer since her childhood introduction to Shel Silverstein, Marni adores film, cats, Brits, and the Oxford comma. She studied screenwriting at UARTS and has written movie, TV, and pop culture reviews for Ani-Izzy.com, and Wizards and Whatnot. You can usually catch her watching Hot Fuzz for the thousandth time. Find her very sparse social media presence on Twitter: @CeriseMarni

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